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BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS v.

COURT OF APPEALS & BENJAMIN NAPIZA


G.R. No. 112392 | February 29, 2000 | Ynares-Santiago, J.
FACTS:
Benjamin Napiza deposited in his foreign current deposit with BPI a dollar check owned
by Henry Chan in which he affixed his signature at the dorsal side thereof. For this purpose,
Napiza gave Chan a signed blank withdrawal slip. Napiza acceded, and agreed to deliver to Chan
a signed blank withdrawal slip, with the understanding that as soon as the check is cleared, both
of them would go to the bank to withdraw the amount of the check upon Napizas presentation to
the bank of his passbook. However, Gayon Jr. got hold of the withdrawal slip and used it to
withdraw the proceeds of the dollar check, even before the check was cleared and without the
presentation of the bank passbook. In reply, private respondent wrote petitioners counsel on April
20, 1985 stating that he deposited the check "for clearing purposes" only to accommodate Chan.
Petitioner filed a complaint against private respondent, praying for the return of the amount of
$2,500.00 or the prevailing peso equivalent plus legal interest from date of demand to date of full
payment, a sum equivalent to 20% of the total amount due as attorney's fees, and litigation and/or
costs of suit. Private respondent filed his answer, admitting that he indeed signed a "blank"
withdrawal slip with the understanding that the amount deposited would be withdrawn only after
the check in question has been cleared. He likewise alleged that he instructed the party to whom
he issued the signed blank withdrawal slip to return it to him after the bank drafts clearance so
that he could lend that party his passbook for the purpose of withdrawing the amount of
$2,500.00. However, without his knowledge, said party was able to withdraw the amount of
$2,541.67 from his dollar savings account through collusion with one of petitioners employees.
Private respondent added that he had "given the Plaintiff fifty one (51) days with which to clear
the bank draft in question." Petitioner should have disallowed the withdrawal because his
passbook was not presented. He claimed that petitioner had no one to blame except itself "for
being grossly negligent;" in fact, it had allegedly admitted having paid the amount in the check "by
mistake" x x x "if not altogether due to collusion and/or bad faith on the part of (its) employees."
RTC dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed RTC.
ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioner can hold private respondent liable for the proceeds of the check
for having affixed his signature at the dorsal side as indorser.
RULING:
NO. Ordinarily private respondent may be held liable as an indorser of the check or even
as an accommodation party. However, petitioner BPI, in allowing the withdrawal of private
respondents deposit, failed to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family. BPI violated its
own rules by allowing the withdrawal of an amount that is definitely over and above the aggregate
amount of private respondents dollar deposits that had yet to be cleared. The proximate cause
of the eventual loss of the amount of $2,500.00 on BPI's part was its personnels negligence in
allowing such withdrawal in disregard of its own rules and the clearing requirement in the banking
system. In so doing, BPI assumed the risk of incurring a loss on account of a forged or counterfeit
foreign check and hence, it should suffer the resulting damage.